This tool draws on publicly available FAO and RFMO global production data for fisheries and aquaculture. These data pertain to 2021 production, the most recent year such data are available.
Specific production data sources included:
Certification and ratings coverage was assigned to the relevant species and country in the production dataset. These data represent a current snapshot of certification and ratings coverage of global seafood production as of July 2023. Decision rules were then applied to deal with coverage overlaps between the programs. These rules are described in detail below.
This tool displays global fisheries and aquaculture production data overlaid with certification and ratings data from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Global Seafood Alliance Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Qingdao Marine Conservation Society (QMCS), Seafood Watch (SFW), and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). The production data, ratings, and certifications are updated annually each spring. Please contact us with any questions or comments.
This tool incorporates 2021 global capture and aquaculture production data sourced primarily from the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Higher-resolution datasets from the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO) were incorporated to improve the accuracy of tuna data. Production of aquatic mammals and reptiles, and non-edible commodities such as coral, were excluded to properly display seafood sustainability. Due to a two-year time lag in the availability of global production data, the latest 2023 certification and ratings data have been assigned to the 2021 production volumes.
Data Tool Decision Rules
Data on production volumes maintained by the ASC programme are collected through third-party audits against ASC standards by conformity assessment bodies. Producers provide data for assessment reports that detail species produced, numbers of farm sites within a unit of certification (UoC), harvested product volumes from the previous calendar year, and farm performance during that production cycle related to environmental and social indicators. Only data from final audit reports are applied. The certification volumes reported represents annual production volume as reported to ASC in that month (not monthly production volume). The tool applies ASC data from a specified point in time. The total certified volume will fluctuate from month to month as farms enter and leave the ASC programme or adjustments from particular farm sites are received through surveillance audits. ASC data are provided for certified farms in aggregate at the country and species level.
Data on production volumes certified to the BAP program are collected during a third-party audit to the Best Aquaculture Practices farm standards. At the time of audit, producers provide harvest volumes from the previous calendar year of production which are verified by the auditor at time of audit. Only data from final audit reports are applied.
Catch data is extracted by MSC from assessment and surveillance reports submitted from third-party conformity assessment bodies. The source data can be viewed on an individual assessment in the “Total Allowable Catch and Catch Data” table of each report on the MSC website. The MSC mapped data in each report to the individual units of assessment and certification (UoA/UoC) for each fishery.
The structure and granularity of data in the reported catch table can vary, along with mapping to the UoC/UoA. MSC applied the following decision rules when extracting:
When mapping MSC data to global capture and aquaculture production data, adjustments were made where records did not join explicitly on species, major ocean area and country.
Matching records that did not join explicitly required manual investigation. Where, for example, a species is recorded in two adjacent ocean areas in the MSC record and only one in the FAO, the catch is mapped to the FAO record. The same logic is applied to countries.
QMCS’ ratings are based on assessments by the China Seafood Sustainability Assessment (CSSA) team, which strictly follow the assessment criteria and refer to the latest scientific data. Commonly referred sources of assessment data include: literature, official releases, objective and fair media reports, data collected from field research, expert interviews, etc. However, data insufficiency exists in many fisheries, or only partial data are publicly available, which will inevitably affect the assessment results to a certain extent. The CSSA team is committed to carrying out the assessment of the species objectively and fairly by comprehensively investigating the fishery or aquaculture practices, fully using the publicly available data, and valuing the reviewing of scientific and industry experts. The assessment report will be open to the public. Experts and scholars participating in the assessment work can choose whether or not to sign their names on the assessment report. The CSAA team reserves the right of final interpretation of the relevant assessment results.
Data and mapping to fishery improvement projects (FIPs), aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs), and Target 75 were provided by SFP. A brief description on sources and mapping procedures for each of these programs is provided below.
Target 75 sectors
SFP’s Target 75 Initiative aims to ensure that 75 percent or more of world seafood production in key sectors is either sustainable or making regular, verifiable improvements. The initiative aims to mobilize improvements in as much of the world’s production, as quickly as possible by working with industry partners. The initiative currently includes 13 sectors,3 which are defined largely by species. The seafood sectors included in Target 75 represent roughly 40% of total global production.
Mapping against the existing T75 sectors was performed using the sector’s most recent definitions. More information on Target 75 and each of the sector’s latest definitions is available on the SFP website’s T75 page.
1 Most (>90%) of the FIPs now report their information in fisheryprogress.org. This includes the estimated FIP volume, which was used in this analysis. For detailed information about the scope (species, jurisdiction, flag countries), progress, or other specific attributes, of individual FIPs, please visit www.FisheryProgress.org, https://www.fishsource.org/improvement-project, or the respective FIP pages (for FIPs not reporting in FisheryProgress). (Back to citation)
3 The Target 75 sectors are: Classic (wild whitefish), Coldwater crab, Farmed whitefish (tilapia-pangasius), Global Marine Ingredients (GMI), Large pelagics, Large shrimp, Octopus, Salmon, Small shrimp, Snapper-Grouper, Squid, Swimming crab, and Tuna. (Back to citation)